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A separate article is about William Sealey Gosset, who wrote under the pseudonym Student.

Etymologically derived from study, a student is one who studies. Also known as a disciple in the sense of a religious area of study, and/or in the sense of a "discipline" of learning. In widest use, student is used to mean a school or class attendee. In many countries, the word student is however reserved for higher education or university students; persons attending classes in primary of secondary schools being called pupils.

Currently, many children and young adults are subject to compulsory education: by law they are required to attend some form of school. Laws vary from country to country, but most students are allowed to abandon their education when they reach the legal age of consent.

November 17 is the International Students' Day, which commemorates those students killed at the beginning of World War II who called for peace.


In the USA, where undergraduate degree courses commonly last four years, the following terms are used:

A freshman is a first-year student in college or university, or, chiefly in the United States, in high school.

A sophomore is a second-year student. Etymologically, the word means 'wise fool'; consequently sophomoric means "pretentious, bombastic, inflated in style or manner; immature, crude, superficial" (according to the Oxford English Dictionary).

A junior is a student in the third year and above of high school or college.

A senior is a student in the fourth and last year at a school, college, or university.

Freshman and sophomore are sometimes used figuratively, mainly in US English usage, to refer for example to a first or second effort ("the singer's freshman album"), or to a politician's first or second term in office ("sophomore senator") or an athlete's first or second year on a professional sports team. Junior and senior aren't used in this figurative way to refer to third and fourth years or efforts, because of those words' broader meanings of 'older' and 'younger'. (A junior senator is therefore not one who is in his or her third term of office, but rather merely one who has not been in the Senate as long as the other senator from his or her state.)

In the United Kingdom, students study a 3-year Bachelors course or a 4-year Masters course. The term fresher is used to describe new students, although unlike the American term freshman, it only applies in the first few months of a student's first year.

See also